DSC_3011 fireworks and drones wp

FILMING FIREWORKS

The filming for prosperity of your back yard fireworks display has become so easy these days, anyone with a little bit of time, a camera and a computer can achieve almost professional results in little or no time.

Since the introduction of high quality camera phones, that most of us have nowadays we are for the most part have access to a video device capable of up to 4K resolution leading to high quality footage possibly. Some even have a firework filter installed as standard. Quality video editing software we can easily add titles, atmospheric music, and some even allow effects to be added post production to give scatter fields and other unusual filters.

Most computers come with Microsoft’s Movie maker which is a good place to start for those who will do the occasion bit of filming. Furthermore, PowerPoint, which is supplied with the office bundle, can be useful for adding text, credits and some pretty cool transitions from one slide to another. There are so many software packages around its difficult to know where to start. Many companies offer a 30 day trial of products to ensure the program suits your needs before you splash out any hard-earned cash, so risk involved.

So now you have a camera, a laptop to process your video and some software to add credits, music or whatever else fires your imagination, but now you are ready to go a step up, filming remotely, with a drone.

Drones, UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles) or RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft systems) to give them their proper name have been around for some time now but over the last year or two we have noticed a dramatic drop in price as their popularity increases. But what about the laws regarding flying these awesome little gadgets, can you just buy and fly, unfortunately not.

Over here in the UK, our airspace and what flies in it, is governed by the CAA (the Civil Aviation Authority) who have set up strict rules and guidelines to ensure our safety, security and rights to privacy, for example do you think you could hover a drone over your house to film your bonfire party. ONLY if you have applied for and been granted an Air navigation order. If you live in a built up area or want to fly a drone within fifty feet of a building this is a must, as if reported you could find yourself paying a hefty fine or worse. Permission is usually granted providing there are no legitimate reasons not to, these might include: you live near a military installation or an airport, the flight of a drone may interfere with equipment in some hospitals or pose danger to the public, the list is almost endless but these people are not there to spoil your good times just ensure all will be safe.

Air navigation orders come in two varieties single flight, or a 12 month order, the latter is usually only available when a flight operators manual has been submitted for ongoing work, such as inspecting tall structures on a regular basis.

For single use orders the CAA would like to see a risk assessment plan and the operator would need to demonstrate they have taken every step to prevent harm to others, filming fireworks over a large public display may cause problems, if the pyrotechnics hit a drone and ricocheted back towards the watching crowd’s pandemonium could ensue.

If you are not sure if you need permission e-mail [email protected] who can answer all your questions much better than we could.

Luckily the operators of these drones had full support from the CAA’s counterparts in the USA the FFA (federal Aviation authority) to fly through a display. Thanks Guys.

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